Policies and Goals

Age Range: Our current age range is from 8 to 15 years. I would very much like to grow our middle school and high school age groups. I love the Montessori middle school model, and work around that as much as possible. If there is a strong interest in the group, I would love to expand in order to accept a larger age range, as well as more children. We would need a location other than my home for this, so I am happy to start a waiting list and let people know as soon as something ‘bigger’ is available. I would still maintain small group sizes so the children could experience the greatest benefit.

General Policies/Guidelines

  • Parents and children must know and be able to follow all rules and expectations stated here and below.
  • Before acceptance into the group, parents and children must be able to attend an initial interview followed by a visit with the larger group. We will discuss all policies and personal and group expectations at your initial interview. We are a small group so it is imperative that the children and families get along and share a general agreement on parenting styles. I am interested in families that believe in positive but firm discipline and that work with their children to foster a love for learning and active involvement with the entire group in a peaceful and positive manner. Good manners and respect are a MUST.
  • You are free to leave the group at the end of a session if the group does not seem like the right fit for you or your child. Please offer as much notice as possible.
  • No child is allowed to leave the house alone or with another parent/family without prior written consent or verbal contact with the group lead.
  • Outside of educational/academic sites, like Khan Academy, or learning videos, I do not allow computer based games or game tools for learning. These may be used at home at each family’s discretion. I feel group time together is an important social experience that would only be diminished by computer or media time in general.

Family Policies

To participate, children must:

  • Be able to maintain a healthy and positive attitude.
  • Be respectful with other children and adults.
  • Be able to follow directions and listen for extended periods of time.
  • Be able to work both independently and in cooperation with others.
  • Be calm and able to focus attention on learning.
  • Bring a laptop computer to complete some of their work as necessary.
  • Require a minimal amount of redirection or discipline.
  • Maintain a calm and quiet speaking voice during lesson times.
  • Be able to participate on a regular and ongoing basis.

To participate, families must:

  • Be able to volunteer time each session to Three Rivers (at least 2 hours per week).
  • To act in a professional and kind manner towards other families and especially towards other children.
  • To agree with the group philosophy.
  • Be very respectful of learning time. Keep personal conversations to non-learning time, and no cell phones (unless used as a learning tool).
  • Be willing and able to pick up child if child is not able to participate in group time in a positive way.
  • Be willing to stay home with sick children.
  • Be able to reinforce all rules of Three Rivers Cooperative and guide children to do so as well.
  • Be able to participate on a regular and ongoing basis.
  • Be able to purchase books as necessary and for their child to bring a laptop computer. Home is equipped with wireless internet.

The group lead, Erica Daley, is in charge of all group policies and rules. She is Pediatric First Aide and CPR certified and has fingerprint clearance (no criminal record), and a clean driving record. The group lead endeavors to stay abreast of education philosophy and child psychology, and implement new findings as appropriate. She takes continued training each year to further her enjoyment and understanding of children and how they learn.

Cancellation: I will do everything I can to be sure the group can meet and run as scheduled, and will find alternative help when I am ill (which is rare). Please do not attend if you or your child is sick (so we can all stay well).  Snow: the driveway is plowed when it snows, but participation on snow days is flexible and based on each families comfort and/or desire to travel to my home. We will communicate via Facebook, text/email, or phone as needed in regard to any inclement weather.

Respect: All families involved in this group must be respectful of one another (children and adults). Please do not yell at or discipline other children, instead finding a parent, or the group lead, so they can work out an issue. Parents may not use corporal punishment or yell at their own children during group time together. This creates a very tense environment for the group and is unacceptable. Parents are free to remove children from a lesson or play time as necessary for a cool-down or a break. No adult should take any child, other than their own, away to a private area, on a walk, or in their car without prior consent and communication from the other child’s parent to the group lead (this has never been an issue, but needs to be stated). Adults need to be mindful of cattiness and gossip as they set a poor example for our children. These ‘rules’ are in place so that we can create a warm and peaceful environment for ourselves and our children. Members are always free to approach the group lead with any issues, and these will be handled in a professional and private manner.

Bullying and Aggression: We encourage tolerance and open-mindedness in our group, but we cannot allow verbal or physical bullying or aggressive behavior from children or adults. If a child or adult is bullying other children or group members, they will be asked to leave the group.

To be clear, I will define what this means as follows:

  • Verbal bullying includes; teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, and threatening harm.
  • Social bullying includes; eye rolling or exaggerated sighs in response to other children, calling other children names or making overly critical verbal observations, leaving someone out on purpose, one child (or adult) telling others not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about others, making rude hand gestures, and embarrassing others in public.
  • Physical bullying includes; hitting, kicking, pinching, slapping, spitting, tripping, pushing, and biting.
  • “Soft bullying” includes: calling other children ‘baby’ or ‘tiny’, or alternatively, ‘big’ can often sound sweet and endearing or may be intended as a compliment, but is often offensive to the child being told these things, and may undermine their self-esteem in regard to their size or age. Also comments such as a boy looking like a girl or a girl looking like a boy based on their choice of clothing or hairstyle can be emotionally damaging. Please model respect and acceptance of differences and teach your child to do the same.

Community Service: We like to create opportunities for the children in our group to feel like they are an important part of our community, and to give time and effort towards making it a better place for all of us. The children may work together to come up with ideas and projects or activities that would serve our county. Service will be age appropriate and safe. Participation is optional.

Photographs: I encourage people to take photographs of their children learning, at play, or on field trips. Some of these photographs may be used on this Blog (posted by Erica Daley), or posted in our private Facebook group, BUT only with prior consent. I strongly recommend NOT posting photographs of other people’s children, or other adults, on the internet (i.e., Facebook or other social media) without prior consent from the other families. Parents will be asked about their position on this when they join the group and their feelings will be respected by the group lead, but the lead cannot control what other families are doing outside of the group.

Birthdays: Please feel free to celebrate children’s birthdays during our group time together…on the last day of each month. You may bring a small dessert like cookies or cupcakes, but I also encourage people to bring small muffins and fresh fruit. Please don’t bring gifts to the group sessions as this may cause jealousy and frustration for other children. Of course it is each family’s prerogative to provide a gift to a special friend, but please do so outside of group time. Children are encouraged to create a card for the birthday child.

Allergies: The group lead’s home is pet, mold, and smoke free. The home is not a nut free environment. Snacks are planned out and provided by the group lead, so if your child has allergies, please bring an appropriate snack for them. Please bring a water bottle and any snacks or lunch items you and your child may want through the course of a day. All food should remain in the kitchen…not on carpets or furniture. All personal containers should have names on them.

House Rules: Please be prepared to remove shoes (bring socks or slippers or go bare foot). We like to keep the floors clean as we sit on them often for group lessons. No children upstairs alone, or in the home alone while other children are outdoors. Adults and children may use the upstairs if an alternative bathroom is needed. No drawing on the walls, banging wood floors or furniture with hard objects, or banging on the windows. Food is only allowed in the kitchen area (or outdoors), and I ask that children wash their hands before using toys, games, and materials, or furniture after eating. No running or shouting in the house.

Clothing: please bring children dressed in play clothes and secure shoes…and bring along a pair of rubber boots too! Make sure that clothing is comfortable and layered to allow for temperature changes.

Outdoors: We love the outdoors and like to spend time there as much as possible…even taking lessons outside when we can. We live on two wooded acres and have a basketball court and walking paths with areas created for climbing and balance activities. Yes there are ticks, and many other critters, so I ask that children remain on raked paths and the front lawn area. I will discuss the limits and safety reasons with all children. During tick hatching seasons and mid fall, we avoid the woods and stay on the front lawn area, or go on walks down the street (court) to avoid ticks and spiders. I like to teach some outdoor preparedness lessons as well.

 

 

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